My husband has a theory. If you put a picture of the cat on anything, you increase traffic. Want more people to “like” your page? Post a cat. If you want a million views on YouTube? Record your cat.
The above cat is Nemo, enjoying last Tuesday morning’s wind and sun on our back porch. Technically, Nemo is my daughter’s cat, but he’s really mine, because even when she moves out of the house, he’s staying with me. I have a thing for orange and white cats. Nemo is very popular on my Facebook page. I post a picture of him weekly — catching a mouse, sleeping in my chair, walking among my Christmas Snow Villages. But are cats really more popular than dogs?
I did a little experiment. I posted pictures of my cat, chickens, and dog. And yes, my cat won, hands down, with the most “views”, “shares”, and “likes.”
Until I posted a picture of my youngest son sleeping with our 90-pound lab. That photo blew the others out of the water. My most popular cat picture got roughly 5,500 “likes.” But Mark and Lewis? Nearly 8,000.
Another popular feature on my Facebook page is when I tell a short story about something my kids did or said.
The thing is, we’re writers, not marketers. We like telling stories, we like sharing our thoughts and ideas and characters running around in our head. Photos that inspire us or make us smile. I’d much rather post a cute photo or story than tell people to buy my book.
Which is how I came up with the Lucy Kincaid contest.
I was having a hard time deciding where Lucy should be assigned when she graduates from the FBI Academy. I had a lot of ideas, but kept second guessing myself. I then thought, what if I let my readers choose? But how would I do that? Through a newsletter? A contest? How could I tabulate the information? Should it be open-ended?
That’s when the marketing people at St. Martin’s Press, my publisher, came up with practical solutions. They could set up an easy way to vote through Facebook. I should limit the choices to four and write the pros and cons to each. They helped me find pictures and format the page so it looks pretty 🙂 And voila! My readers get to decide where Lucy will go after graduation.
The four FBI regional offices I picked:
- New York
- San Antonio
- Los Angeles
To me, this contest is a thank you to my readers. To give them an opportunity to contribute to a series they helped make so successful. And, I hope to find new readers. It also got me to thinking: what readers really want, if anything, from an author … other than writing books they want to read. After all, it’s all about the books, right? Yet, if readers don’t know about the books, we won’t be writing for long.
So I’m curious. As a reader, what things are you interested in about your favorite authors other than their books? What do you want to know? What contests have you checking back? Information you enjoy getting? What should we all be blogging about? Do you like newsletters and contests? Your authors chatting on Twitter or Facebook or their webpage? Share whatever you want, I’m listening!